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Congressional leaders, 2020 hopefuls condemn anti-Semitic attack in New York

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Political figures on both sides of the aisle strongly condemned an attack on a Hanukkah celebration in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York town and warned of the rise of anti-Semitism.

Five people were stabbed in the home of a rabbi in Monsey, N.Y., on Saturday night as they lit a candle for the seventh night of Hanukkah, according to officials. The suspect fled in a car but has since been apprehended.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), speaking at the site of the attack, said, “Let’s call it what it is. These people are domestic terrorists.”

“And the law should reflect that. And they should be punished as if it was an act of terrorism,” he added.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he agreed with Cuomo’s characterization of the attack as “domestic terrorism.”

“I think these individuals are acting not just out of a hatred towards one person but a hatred towards anyone who’s different, and to me that is what terrorism’s about. So I agree with Gov. Cuomo. I think this is an act of domestic terrorism,” Cardin, who serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and as the special representative on anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said Sunday.

“It’s not only words. It’s actions to make it clear that those responsible will be held fully accountable and that we work together to keep our communities safe,” he added. “The rise [of anti-Semitism] here in the United States is something that should be of concern to every person in this country.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the No. 2 Republican in the House, condemned the attack on “Fox News Sunday,” saying, “Too often in Washington, you see people trying to figure out somebody’s motives instead of just saying it’s wrong. … Call it out for what it is. … Anti-Semitism is wrong.”

President Trump also spoke out about the attack in a tweet Sunday afternoon, calling it “horrific” and writing, “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that he was “outraged” by the attack, adding, “We must confront this surge of anti-Semitic violence, prioritize the fight against bigotry, and bring people together – instead of dividing people up.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also running for president, tweeted, “The horrifying rise of antisemitism is tearing apart the fabric of our communities and the soul of this nation.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), another presidential candidate, said she was “heartsick” and noted that “this is unfortunately just the latest of a series of anti-Semitic attacks in New York and New Jersey.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted that she was “heartbroken and deeply disturbed” by the incident. “We must condemn and confront anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and hate wherever & whenever we see them,” she added.

The attack occurred hours after a woman was charged with assaulting three Jewish women in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. 

In addition to the Crown Heights attack, at least seven other suspected anti-Semitic incidents in New York are currently under investigation. In response to such incidents, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has said the New York Police Department will increase patrols in several largely Jewish Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Those follow a shooting earlier this month in which two people killed a police detective and three civilians at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J. In October 2018, a gunman killed 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.

“At this point, we are in an epidemic in New York City, of all places, for the Jewish community,” Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday.

“We are still recovering as a community from what we saw in Jersey City. … The community is in shock. There’s a lot of fear and anxiety, but that’s why it’s important for organizations like ADL and the broader community to step up and be allies,” he added. 

Tags Ben Cardin Bernie Sanders Bill de Blasio Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Jake Tapper Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi Steve Scalise
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